My first big deadline for school was on Friday, that came and went without too much stress, and this week I am traveling to a few other places in Europe! Currently I’m posting this from Munich, where I’ve spent two nights. I arrived Friday evening, after leaving the school presentations a bit early. Yesterday, Saturday, was my day at Oktoberfest! With my classmates Alana, Kurtis, and his parents, I spent all day drinking liters of beer in the Hofbrauhaus tent! I was drinking by 10 am, and absolutely fall-down drunk by 5 pm. But what a great time! There will be some good pictures to share soon, perhaps when I get back to Barcelona. There may also be some not-so-good, drunken photos, but that’s all part of conveying the experience, right?
Today I’m not drinking, despite it being the last day of Oktoberfest, but I did see some amazing architecture here in Munich. I went to BMW Welt and museum. The Welt is a contemporary super-modernist building by Coop Himmelb(l)au, with an insane curvilinear facade and structure and spiraling vortex element at the main entrance. The first time I saw this building was on a postcard given to me by my good friend Nojan (what’s up Noj!), and never dreamt at the time I would have an opportunity to see it and go inside. The building’s program is really just an awesome show room for some really cool cars, with an auditorium and business centre. The BMW Museum is right across the street, in an older modernist building, but the interior has been renovated recently and the combination of the architectural design inside, the layout of the museum, the collection of cars, engines etc. and the overall experience make for one of the best museums I’ve ever been to. From old cars, to new concepts, the original BMW kinetic sculpture, it was all really cool. The last stop on the architecture tour was at the Olympic park from the ’72 Munich Olympics. It’s a huge sprawling series of parabolic tension structures, with glass panels making up the building envelope. Walking past the giant concrete footings, where the steel cables are anchored, and walking up to the top row at the Stadium, I could almost imagine the space full of Olympic onlookers. For it being 20 years older than the Olympic stadium I saw in Barcelona, it was so much more impressive.
So, tonight I am catching a night train to Amsterdam, I’ll be arriving tomorrow at 9 am. I’ve got a bed reserved, and I should be plenty tired enough to catch some sleep. I’ll be in Amsterdam for 3 nights, taking a field study course which focuses on the region and includes cities like Utrecht and Rotterdam. I’m really looking forward to it!
Lastly, my plan is to go from Amsterdam to Zurich on a train sometime Thursday, and hopefully make my way up to Vals, a small town in the Swiss Alps. Vals is home to another architectural landmark which I’ve always dreamed of visiting, the Therme Vals, a hotel, spa and thermal baths by architect Peter Zumthor. The thermal baths are the highlight here, and my sole reason for traveling, but I might not ever get another opportunity so now is the time! I’ll be flying back to Barcelona one week from tonight, then I can get around to sharing some photos again. Be sure to check back soon!